Thursday, May 29, 2014

Maulana Azad's Grandniece Says "Muslims Are Not Minorities" in India

"Muslims are not minorities. Parsis are. We have to see how we can help them so that their numbers don't diminish...This is not the ministry for Muslim Affairs. It's the ministry for Minorities Affairs." Indian Minorities Minister Najma Heptullah, Grandniece of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

Najmullah Heptullah (left) on stage with BJP Leaders
It appears that Najma Heptullah, Narendra Modi's minister for minorities affairs, thinks the main focus of her job is to look after the welfare of India's 60,000 Parsis, three-fourths of them living in Mumbai's exclusive neighborhoods. Her statement implies that she does not consider her fellow Muslims as a minority that needs any of her attention.

Her statements raise the following questions:

1. Is she merely expressing her own personal opinion or articulating Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi's well-thought-out view of her job?

2. Is there a real need for a federal ministry for a mere 60,000 Parsis most of whom are concentrated in just one Indian city?

3. Is she aware of the widespread discrimination against Muslims in education, employment and housing?

4. Is India's criminal justice system fair to Muslims and other minorities?

5. Does she know that Muslims make up 13% of India's population but 28% of Indian prisoners?  Similarly, Christians make up 2.8% of India's population but 6% of India's prison population? Meanwhile, the newly elected parliament has just 4% Muslim representation?

6. Has she seen the ghettoization of Muslims in Indian cities? Have any of her fellow Muslims told her that they are excluded from living in nice urban neighborhoods?

7. Does she know that her fellow Indian Muslims are now worse off than the lowest-caste Hindus, or Dalits, in terms of education and employment? Has she seen the 2013 update of the Sachar Commission report which shows little improvement for Muslims since the original report published 2006?

And the final question is: Is she willing to be just another Muslim token in Prime Minister Modi's cabinet? Or does she plan to set the agenda to shape Mr. Modi's government policies to help all of India's minorities, including the Indian Muslims?

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Modi's Pakistan Policy

Indian Muslims Worse Off Than Dalits

Gujarat Muslims Ignored By Indian Politcians

Are Muslims Better Off in Jinnah's Pakistan?

India's Guantanamos and Abu Ghraibs 


Anonymous said...

So per you Mexicans in USA should be considered minority more than Jews just because they are far less educated and poor.

Syed said...

She is her master's voice, as was Maulana Azad. We have to discount them for Indian Muslim's representatives. Let her earn her living licking BJP's behind.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "So per you Mexicans in USA should be considered minority more than Jews just because they are far less educated and poor."

Mexican-Americans are considered a minority and they qualify for affirmative action programs.

Jewish-Americans are bracketed with whites as far as affirmative action is concerned.

Jews do not qualify for preferences in college admissions, housing and jobs under affirmative action.

M. Khan said...

This b**ch has been picked up only because she got a Muslim name. If reservation is wrong for Muslims, why is it justified for Hindu backward castes and Dalits? Has she been released from a mental hospital? She is the re-incarnation of M.C. Chagla, who wanted to be cremated. She is giving this outrageous statement to get nominated and elected as BJP's candidate for the vice president of India. Shame on her.

Riaz Haq said...

I have received a lot of hateful comments in response to this post.

The extreme anti-Muslim bigotry spewed out by Indian posters is not a surprise given that they just elected a Nazi-loving Hindu fanatic Narendra Modi by a landslide to be India's prime minister.

Modi's guru Golwalkar looked for inspiration to the Nazi thinkers of 1930’s Germany. He believed an independent India should emulate Hitler's treatment of religious minorities, which he thoroughly approved of: "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging of its Semitic Race, the Jews," he wrote admiringly in We soon after Kristallnacht. "Race pride at its highest has been manifested there. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures having differences going to the root to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by... The foreign races in Hindusthan [ie the Muslims] must adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no ideas but those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture[… and] may [only] stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing -- not even citizen’s rights."

During Partition in 1947, the RSS was responsible for many horrifying atrocities against India's Muslims, and it was a former RSS swayamsevak, Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi for (in RSS eyes) “pandering” to the Muslims. In the aftermath of this, Nehru decided to deal with the threat he believed the Hindu Nationalists posed to the nation and denounced the RSS as a “private army which is proceeding on Nazi lines.”

Feisal M. said...

Very well said!!

Anonymous said...

To all pakistanis.

Pls post news item of Indian Muslims taking asylum in the land of pure.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Pls post news item of Indian Muslims taking asylum in the land of pure."

It’s not easy for any Indian, Hindu or Muslim or any other religion, to get a visa to Pakistan.
At least a million Indians, mostly Hindus, leave India for good every year. The lines outside foreign consulates in India are the longest anywhere in the world. Surveys after surveys indicate huge majorities of all Indians would choose leave India given the opportunity. It applies to both Hindus and Muslims…particularly Muslims millions of whom work in the Muslim Arab nations of the Middle East.

I suggest you and other readers read an Indian blogger’s post “Why one million Indians Escape from India every year” to get a full dose reality about “Shining India”:
Here are a few excerpts:
Any crackdown on illegal immigrants abroad or restricting quotas to Indians are a major concern to India’s politicians. The latest statistics from US Department of Homeland Security shows that the numbers of Indian illegal migrants jumped 125% since 2000! Ever wondered why Indians migrate to another countries but no one comes to India for a living?
Quit India!
Sixty years ago Indians asked the British to quit India. Now they are doing it themselves. To live with dignity and enjoy relative freedom, one has to quit India! With this massive exodus, what will be left behind will be a violently charged and polarized society.
15 per cent Hindu upper castes inherited majority of India’s civil service, economy and active politics from British colonial masters. And thus the caste system virtually leaves lower caste Hindus in to an oppressed majority in India’s power structure. Going by figures quoted by the Backward Classes Commission, Brahmins alone account for 37.17 per cent of the bureaucracy. [Who is Really Ruling India?]
The 2004 World Development Report mentions that more than 25% of India’s primary school teachers and 43% of primary health care workers are absent on any given day!
About 40 million primary school-age children in India are not in school. More than 92 % children cannot progress beyond secondary school. According to reports, 35 per cent schools don’t have infrastructure such as blackboards and furniture. And close to 90 per cent have no functional toilets. Half of India’s schools still have leaking roofs or no water supply.
Japan has 4,000 universities for its 127 million people and the US has 3,650 universities for its 301 million, India has only 348 universities for its 1.2 billion people. In the prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities by Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong, only two Indian Universities are included. Even those two IITs in India found only a lower slot (203-304) in 2007 report. Although Indian universities churn out three million graduates a year, only 15% of them are suitable employees for blue-chip companies. Only 1 million among them are IT professionals.

Riaz Haq said...

The Two Nation Theory has been vindicated over the last 60+ years.

1. It’s been proved right by the fact that Muslims in India are now worse off than even the lowest caste Hindus while Muslims in Pakistan have done far better…even better than the average Hindu in India in terms of higher standards of living and better economic and social mobility.

2. It was vindicated in 1971 when Muslim Bangladesh chose to be independent rather than join Hindu India.

3. Modi’s landslide has validated TNT yet again.

The Lahore Resolution in March 1940 called for “Independent States” of Muslim majority areas in the “North Western and Eastern Zones of India” in which the “Constituent Units shall be autonomous and sovereign”.
What happened in 1971 with the creation of Bangladesh essentially put into practice the theory behind the original resolution to form Pakistan, which envisaged two Muslim states at the two extremities of the subcontinent.

Anonymous said...

She is of course right; her role is not to safeguard the interests of only one community. And as some writers pointed out to me, in his presidential address at the Ramgarh Congress in 1940, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (Heptullah is his grand-niece), explained the meaning of being a minority: “It is not enough that the group should be relatively the smaller, but that it should be absolutely so small as to be incapable of protecting its interests. Thus this is not merely a question of numbers; other factors count also. If a country has two major groups numbering a million and two millions respectively, it does not necessarily follow that because one is half the other, therefore it must call itself politically a minority and consider itself weak. If this is the right test, let us apply it to the position of the Muslims in India. You will see at a glance a vast concourse, spreading out all over the country; they stand erect, and to imagine that they exist helplessly as a ‘minority’ is to delude oneself.”
But even if the intellectual basis of Heptullah’s view comes from her ancestor Maulana Azad, it is not enough to say therefore that Muslims aren’t a minority; that they are capable of defending their interests; or that real focus should be on the Parsis so that their numbers don’t decrease. Arguably, nobody asked Parsis if they want any special favours, nor is it in any way clear what the Indian government can do to increase the Parsi population.
Heptullah’s literal interpretation of her ancestor’s remarks reveals two flaws. First is her understanding of minorities only in numerical terms; and second is her understanding of minorities only in religious terms.
In an ideal world, all Indian citizens are Indians, and the gods they worship—or not, the language they speak—or not, the food they eat—or not, the caste to which they belong by the accident of birth—or not, none of these factors should matter. But they do, and they do because the discourse on majority and minorities misses the vital aspect of power. If Muslims or dalits or adivasis require affirmative action in some areas, it is because of discrimination and their powerlessness. When the majority wields power and enjoys a large share of benefits, it is often unaware of the inherent advantage its constituents have because of its majority status. That is a problem, because the minority then develops grievances because of perceived discrimination and injustice. Muslims are a minority not only because they are fewer than Hindus, but because as the Sachar committee report shows, and as other social and economic indicators, including statistics of their representation in bureaucracy, corporations, judiciary, and even newsrooms reveal, there are disproportionately fewer of them in professions and senior positions than their numbers. Instead of blaming the community, what the state should do is to figure out how best to ensure that Muslims have the opportunities to reach their potential. It is in India’s interest. An imaginative, forward-looking minority affairs ministry would look towards extending those opportunities, rather than questioning if a group of people who number 138 million represent a minority or not. In Apartheid-era South Africa, blacks were the majority but they lacked power, and were, in effect, a discriminated minority, because all the levers of power were with the white minority, which acted like the majority. Majority and minority are about power, not numbers alone....

Rashid said...

In some of your visits to APPNA Conventions, you may have come across Dr. Rizwan Naeem (Sind Medical College). He used to live here in Houston but may have moved.

His wife is the daughter of this Minister Najma Heptullah.

Anonymous said...

Najma Heptullah's son-in-law is a Pakistani doctor Rizwan Naeem,a graduate of Sind Medical College, currently professor of pathology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Mayraj said...

"Modi appears to have been democratically elected. But, as his record in Gujarat indicates, he has exhibited a propensity to wield power in an undemocratic way and for undemocratic ends. Within his own party, he prevents emergence of independent leadership, making sure that potential rivals are politically finished. He encourages defections from other parties, rewarding defectors with party tickets, undermining the legitimacy of opposition.
He undermines key constitutional bodies: whether agencies investigating the 2002 massacres or extra-judicial killings in Gujarat, or the Election Commission. He centralises power, once holding 14 portfolios in the state cabinet. He talks of “uprooting” opponents and “erasing” opposing political parties, and his supporters promise exile and incarceration to critics.
The cult of personality around him likens him to Hindu gods: this militates against the principle of political equality at the basis of democracy. He does not open himself to any critical questioning, about the “Gujarat model” or about the massive finances spent by his campaign. Gujarat, which he holds up as a model of “good governance”, has the highest levels of violence against those seeking to use the “right to information” to find out about the activities of his government."

Why India’s New PM May Bring Disaster to India

Visesh said...

Lol! Why is it that muslims world over are backward and mistreated. I guess the Nazi loving dictator Narendra Modi rules over the world. The only one bigoted are the inferiority complex struck muzzies like yourself and your gang from the subcontinent whose families were forced to convert by people far worse than hitler and yet they worship them. Dictators and kings are a common scene in the muslim world not Hindu. Unfortunately, you lot are delusional so really can't blame you! Its your genes and the fact that as you were born in a wrong community you had already lost in life.

Riaz Haq said...

Vishesh: "Why is it that muslims world over are backward and mistreated"

Bigotry is not a substitute for facts.

Vast majority of Muslims have higher average incomes, longer life expectancy, better health and higher levels of education than Hindus. Go look at the World Bank and UNDP data to confirm it.

Anonymous said...

"Bigotry is not a substitute for facts"

The only reason that is true is because of a OPEC countries that offsets the poor performance of rest of the Muslim world...

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "The only reason that is true is because of a OPEC countries that offsets the poor performance of rest of the Muslim world... "

Again, bigotry is not a substitute for facts. Take a look at the data and you'll see vast majority of Muslim nations ranked above India are not oil producers or exporters.,,contentMDK:22634969~menuPK:64701637~pagePK:64709096~piPK:64709108~theSitePK:502184,00.html

Riaz Haq said...

Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla -- the only Muslim minister in Modi's cabinet -- created a controversy on Friday by reportedly calling all Indians "Hindus" (Indian Express). After a newspaper quoted Heptulla as saying: "If some people called Muslims Hindi or Hindu they should not be so sensitive because it doesn't affect their faith," Heptulla issued a clarification, and said: "I didn't say Hindu, I used the word Hindi. Hindi is an Arabic word. When people go from India to Gulf or Arab countries, they're known as Hindi. If they go to Iran, they are known as Hindustani. This is a national identity" (NDTV).

In response to Heptulla's comment, Congress party leader Manish Tewari said: "We respect Najmaji a lot but it would be better if she reads the Constitution. The Constitution mentions 'Bharat' and going by that every citizen of the country is a 'Bharatiya', and not Hindu" (Economic Times). Recently, Mohan Bhagwat, the leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh -- a Hindu nationalist organization from which the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party draws its ideological roots -- had also stirred up controversy by stating that all Indians are Hindus.

Anonymous said...

I see a lot of Pakistanis blah blahing about Muslims in India without having any understanding of the historic and current reality.

First Muslims in India are not minority but second majority. The Hindu majority vote bank is any case divided and so Muslim voting sometimes swings the election results. They know it. Even pseudo secular political parties know it and that’s why they gets into appeasement politics and provide things like Haj subsidy, wedding gifts, etc instead of working on educating and creating jobs for them. Christians, Jews, Pasis, Sikhs are the true minorities in India.

Second, Indian constitution / state does not discriminate anyone on account of religion. Every Indian citizen has absolutely equal rights. However, there are provisions for reservation to uplift the backward class / society which in effect is a discrimination against the upper caste. Upper caste children need to work harder to get college admission and govt employment. Although 1990s saw huge protest against this reservation system including self immolation by few students from upper castes, they have reconciled themselves to this reality now atleast for the foreseeable future.

Now coming back to Muslims, most Muslim communities in India identify themselves from their previous Hindu caste ancestry. Eg there are SC Muslims, ST Muslims, etc. So they enjoy reservation in education and jobs in the respective caste category. There is also a reservation system exclusively for Muslims irrespective of their Hindu ancestry.

I am not suggesting that the Sachar Committee report is wrong. It identifies problems and also the underlying causes many of which are attributable to Muslim communities themselves (which these bloggers do not cite. Pl read Sachar Report fully before any criticism). The problem is admitted and state has to work toward addressing it whether the underlying causes are flowing from Muslims themselves or not. That’s exactly what Modi is doing. Poverty is poverty whether Hindu or Muslim. Public defecation is not acceptable whether it is coming out from Hindu or Muslim. That’s the reason he does not have problem in admitting these issue even at international fora because only when we admit are we able to work on the solution. Any govt addressing poverty will be helping Muslims more than any other community.

This is in so far as the state vis a vis people are concerned. There is a positive discrimination in favour of the depressed people including Muslims.

Lets now look at people to people. The Indian society is fractured in terms of caste system historically. Understood. It is well acknowledged that during partition, most Muslim intelligentsia and well to do class left for Pakistan leaving poor, uneducated Muslims many of whom also had the tag of their previous low caste Hindu ancestry. Added to that, this stupid two nation theory further widened the rift in already fractured society. These people got a double whammy one from being their previous Hindu low caste ancestry and another being Muslim.

Instead of collectively addressing these social evils plaguing the Indian society as whole, Jinna wanted to create a heaven for Muslims and leave hell for Hindus. He is just one among many leaders who used and who continue to use religion for political ends. He is a great man no doubt and but he erred here in my view. Anyway as long as Muslims in Pakistan are happy and living in heaven, we are happy for them.

So, yes there is discrimination at people to people level in many places. Agreed. But with each generation passing by, things are improving. Even Muslims have begun to realize there is a problem with them as much as the problem with the rest. Social integration is a two way process. Ghetoism is a creation of Muslims themselves as much as it is forced upon them by the rest. The situation is much better among educated, non-burka clad middle class.

Anonymous said...


I am Hindu and live in upper middle class locality exclusively occupied by Hindu and a few Christians till recently. Now I have a Muslim neighbor with absolutely no overt display of religious symbolism and fully integrated into the mainstream… like the rest of us. I am truely happy for them.

Riaz Haq said...

Opposition demands sacking of #Modi minister who insinuates #Muslims, #Christians of #India are "bastards"

NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under growing pressure to sack a minister over a tirade she made against religious minorities, as his outraged opponents disrupted parliament for a second day on Wednesday.

Niranjan Jyoti, the junior minister for food processing industries, asked whether the country should be governed by “the children of Ram (a Hindu god) or the children of bastards” at an election rally.

The comment was widely believed to have been an attack on the legitimacy of the country's Muslim and Christian minorities.

Rival parties defeated by Modi's Hindu nationalists six months ago in a general election have staged two days of parliamentary protests to demand Jyoti's removal. Amid unruly scenes, the speaker of the upper house adjourned proceedings for the rest of the day.

“The constitution has been violated; India's laws have been violated,” Anand Sharma, a senior leader of the opposition Congress party said. “We want the prime minister to come to the house and tell us he has asked the minister to go.”

The protests risk disrupting a session of parliament where the government wants to build consensus to pass laws lifting the caps on foreign investment in India's insurance sector and amend a bill making it easier for companies to buy land.

Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has been accused of exploiting religious divisions in the run up to elections, a tactic that opponents say helped the party win the largest election victory in three decades in May.

Parliamentary affairs minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said the minister has apologised and the house should now focus on legislative business.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpt from BBC News on housing discrimination in India:

Segregation has inevitably led to curious business opportunities. Sensing that mixed neighbourhoods were fast disappearing and even well-to-do-Muslims were finding it a problem to buy property, Ahmedabad-based entrepreneur Mohammed Ali Husain began a property fair connecting Muslim builders with buyers.

More than 40,000 potential buyers have turned up for the two fairs he's held so far, checking out and buying housing offered by 25 Muslim builders.

"Earlier communities lived in segregated neighbourhoods for cultural reasons," say Mr Husain. "Now the reason is the fear of the other."

Deep divisions
In a deeply divided and hierarchical society like India, segregated living - and housing - has existed for centuries.

Mumbai has community-based "vegetarian only" housing societies. Delhi and Calcutta have Muslim ghettos, crowded, run-down and neglected. A planned apartment coming up in Delhi promises "dream homes for elite Muslim brotherhood".

Ahmedabad has been always divided on caste, community and religious lines. But, as analysts say, the ghettoisation was relative in the sense that Muslim-dominated areas co-existed with Hindu-dominated ones.

"These mixed neighbourhoods disappeared after Muslims became the main victims in communal riots which have gone on a par with their growing socio-economic marginalisation," write Christophe Jaffrelot and Charlotte Thomas in their study of ghettoisation in Ahmedabad.

The divisions of the past appeared to be more cultural in nature; the divisions of today appear to be rooted in fear, distrust and anomie.

Mr Kadri says he was picking up an order at a burger chain drive-thru a few years ago when he overheard the manager asking one of his delivery boys to not to deliver to Juhapura because, "people will chop you into pieces if you go there".

Rising urbanisation was expected to blur religious and social boundaries, but that hasn't happened fully.

So despite the fact that more than a third of India's Muslims live in cities and towns - making them the most urbanised community of a significant size - poverty and discrimination continues to easily push them into ghettos.

Even Dalits - formerly known as untouchables - who escape the stifling caste-based discrimination of their villages to live and work in the cities find that they still end up living in ghettos.

Riaz Haq said...

NY Times editorial: Religious Intolerance in India

Hope is in danger of crumbling that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would rein in the divisive agenda of his militant Hindu-nationalist supporters and allow India to concentrate on the important work of economic reform, and the blame lies squarely with Mr. Modi.

During the last days of its winter session ending on Tuesday, Parliament was unable to deal with important legislative business because of repeated adjournments and an uproar over attempts by Hindu groups to convert Christians and Muslims. The issue has come to a head following a “homecoming” campaign by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad — groups dedicated to transforming India’s secular democracy into a Hindu state — to “reconvert” Christians and Muslims to Hinduism.

In recent weeks, Hindu militants have engineered conversions of Muslims and Christians in Agra and in the states of Gujarat and Kerala. Police are investigating accusations that people have been induced to participate in mass conversion meetings by a combination of intimidation and bribery, including the promise of food ration cards. Attacks on Christians and their places of worship have intensified in recent weeks. One of New Delhi’s biggest churches burned down on Dec. 1 — arson is being blamed — and Christmas carolers were attacked on their way home in the city of Hyderabad on Dec. 12.

More than 80 percent of Indians are Hindus, but Muslims, Christians and Sikhs form important religious minorities with centuries of history in India. Religious pluralism and freedom are protected by India’s Constitution. The issue of religious conversion is contentious in India. Many Dalits, known formerly as untouchables, and other low-caste Hindus and Tribals admit they convert to Islam or Christianity primarily to escape crushing caste prejudice and oppression. The main architect of the Constitution, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, born a Dalit, famously converted to Buddhism to escape caste-oppression under Hinduism.

As opposition political leaders are demanding, Mr. Modi must break his silence and issue a stern warning to emboldened Hindu militants before their actions turn further progress on economic reform into a sideshow, with the politics and divisiveness occupying center stage.

Riaz Haq said...

#Secular #India. Praise for #Modi policies on #Christmas at govt schools, offices. #Modi dismisses minority concerns …

In small-town northern India, Muslims are offered food and money to convert to Hinduism. If that doesn't suffice, they say they're threatened. Across the country, the Christmas holiday is canceled for hundreds of government servants who spend the day publicly extolling the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Powerful Hindu nationalist leaders — some with close ties to Modi's government — say they intend to ensure India becomes a completely Hindu nation.

But Modi himself? He has remained silent as nationalist demands have bubbled over into day-to-day politics, and amid growing fears among minority religious groups of creeping efforts to shunt them aside.

"We told him we feel insecure and fearful," said the Rev. Dominic Emmanuel, a Roman Catholic priest who was in a delegation of religious leaders who met a few days ago with Modi. "We told him, 'If there were just two words from your side, prime minister, we would feel so much better.'"

But according to Emmanuel, Modi dismissed the fears as media exaggeration and told the group it wasn't his role to weigh in on every issue.

A largely Hindu country that has long proclaimed its multicultural character, India has a sizable Muslim minority, a small Christian community and even smaller pockets of other religions from Judaism to Zoroastrianism.

So when a top Modi official suggested that students come in on Christmas for lessons on "Good Governance" — a key Modi platform — anger welled up quickly. While that plan was quietly shelved, hundreds of civil servants held high-profile activities across the country on Dec. 25 to herald Modi's governance policies.

If there was no outright anti-Christian message in these gatherings, Emmanuel says the subtext was loud and clear.

"It's not merely undermining the festival of Christmas, but it is trying to segregate a community and its festival," he said.

Nonsense, said Tarun Vijay, a writer, longtime supporter of Hindu causes and member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP. The government activities on Christmas, he insisted, were to honor the birthday of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the last BJP prime minister.

"Was it his mistake being born on 25th December?" he asked. "Is it sacrilegious for us to celebrate his birthday on 25th December?"

Riaz Haq said...

Hindu attacks on poor Muslims in Trilokpuri neighborhood in New Dehi have had little media coverage in India. For those unfamiliar with Trilokpuri, it was site of the biggest Sikh massacre by Hindus in 1984. Soon after news of Mrs Gandhi's killing by her Sikh bodyguards spread, Hindu mobs swung into action - like they did elsewhere in the city armed with voters' lists - in Trilokpuri against the low caste Sikhs inhabiting one-roomed tenements on either side of two narrow alleyways barely 150 yards long. .... With local police connivance they blocked entry to the neighborhood with massive concrete water pipes and stationed guards armed with sticks atop them.

For the next three days marauding groups armed with cleavers, scythes, kitchen knives and scissors took breaks to eat and regroup in between executing their bloodthirsty mission.

Riaz Haq said...

FT on widespread housing discrimination against Muslims in India. Even the Bollywood's Muslim elite face discrimination in housing

..the plan has angered many rightwing Hindus, who have called on the authorities to block the proposed development. They say the 368-unit compound, with an accompanying mosque, will foment divisions between India’s Hindu majority and its Muslim minority, thought to account for 18 per cent of the population. Some have even called for the developer’s arrest.
Muslim academics and researchers say such protests ring hollow given the realities of most Indian cities, which are already highly segregated along religious lines. The majority of Muslims, whether affluent or poor, already live together cheek-by-jowl in crowded ghettos, usually without proper amenities or planning.
“Housing segregation on religious lines is India’s biggest open secret,” says author Basharat Peer, who is working on a book about Indian Muslims.
Some Muslims are able to rent or buy homes in Hindu-dominated areas or buildings. But the obstacles faced by many is encouraging housing developments specifically targeting well-off Muslims seeking to escape the overcrowding and squalor of older, neglected Muslim neighbourhoods.
“There is a middle class emerging among the Muslim community,” says economist Abusaleh Shariff, one of the authors of a landmark 2006 report on the socio-economic status of Indian Muslims. “They have money, and they have aspirations to be in the modern world. If they have difficulty purchasing houses in the mainstream market, they are developing their own enclaves. That is the reality.”
India has no law against discrimination in housing, and in fact protects people’s rights to form societies or associations for common purposes, including building houses exclusively for members of religious faiths. But housing discrimination in Indian cities takes many forms.
In Gujarat, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was chief minister for 12 years, activists complain that the state’s Disturbed Areas Act is being used to block the sale of property by Hindus to Muslims.
Introduced in 1991 to prevent distress sales after incidences of communal violence, the act’s provisions ban people from selling their property to buyers of a different faith in areas designated as disturbed. But the law now covers 40 per cent of the state capital Ahmedabad, preventing Muslims from buying even in many seemingly tranquil neighbourhoods.
This year a Muslim businessman who bought a home in the Gujarati town of Bhavnagar was prevented from moving in by pickets from his prospective Hindu neighbours. Another Muslim family had been allowed to move into the middle-class area earlier but only after changing surname and undergoing Hindu “purification” rites.

Mumbai is notorious for its “vegetarians-only” high-rise apartment buildings, which in effect means only upper-caste Hindus, or members of the affluent Jain minority, can live there, while Muslim families – or meat-eating lower-caste Hindus – are kept out.
In many middle-class Delhi neighbourhoods, where single family bungalows are giving way to four or five-storey apartment buildings, Muslims face extreme difficulties trying to rent, let alone buy.
“People will just not sell their property to Muslims, even if they pay more than the going rate,” says Ghazala Jamil, an associate fellow at the Council on Social Development, who has researched segregation in Delhi.
“Even homeowners who would not mind selling to Muslims face a lot of social pressure not to. It is not that everybody hates [Muslims] but they are afraid it will drive down the prices of their houses in the future.”

Riaz Haq said...

Police in eastern India are searching for a group of six men who gang-raped an elderly nun in West Bengal.

The men ransacked the convent school in Ranaghat early on Saturday morning and stole money before entering the convent itself.

The 74-year-old nun is now recovering in hospital.

Christian groups have recently held protests in the Indian capital, Delhi, saying they are being targeted and demanding better protection.

The Archbishop of Calcutta, Thomas d'Souza, told the BBC that security cameras inside the Convent of Jesus and Mary School show the faces of the six men who carried out the assault.

They first ransacked the school principal's office and classrooms before entering the convent itself.

"There are only three Sisters in the community," he said.

"One sister was molested badly. The other two, and a guard, were tied to chairs."

Riaz Haq said...

#India #Muslims, #Christians should be forcibly sterilized: #Hindu Mahasabha leader. #BJP #Modi

A Hindu Mahasabha (General Assembly) leader sparked controversy on Saturday after claiming that Muslims and Christians should forcibly be sterilised to restrict their growing population, which, according to her, posed a threat to Hindus.

“The population of Muslims and Christians is growing day by day. To rein in this, Centre will have to impose emergency, and Muslims and Christians will have to be forced to undergo sterilisation so that they can’t increase their numbers,” vice president of All India Hindu Mahasabha Sadhvi Deva Thakur said, according to India Today.

Thakur also urged Hindus to have more children and increase their population so as to have an effect on the world.

The politician, however, did not just restrain herself to forcible sterilisation and claimed idols of Hindu gods and goddesses should be placed in mosques and churches.

Thakur also came out strongly in support of installing a statue of “patriot” Nathuram Godse in Haryana.

A census data in January this year on the population of religious groups in India showed a 24% rise in the Muslim population between 2001 and 2011, with the community’s share of total population rising from 13.4% to 14.2% over the 10-year period.

Read: India’s Muslim population grows 24%, slower than previous decade

Further, according to Pew Research Center’s projections released earlier this month, Muslim and Christian populations could be nearly equal by 2050, with Islam expected to be the fastest-growing faith on the planet.

The Pew Research Center’s religious profile predictions assessed data from around the world on fertility rates, trends in youth population growth and religious conversion statistics.

Read: Muslim, Christian population could be nearly equal by 2050: study

According to the report, “Over the next four decades, Christians will remain the largest religious group, but Islam will grow faster than any other major religion.”

The authors predicted there will be 2.76 billion Muslims on the planet by then, and 2.92 billion Christians. Those figures would correspond to about 29.7% and 31.4%of the world population, respectively.

Riaz Haq said...

India rejected a report issued by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which strongly criticizes Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government for subjecting minorities to violent attacks, according to news reports on Thursday (BBC, IBNLive). A statement from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs stated: "It [the USCIRF report] appears to be based on limited understanding of India, its constitution and its society. We take no cognizance of this report" (NDTV). The USCIRF report states that religious minority communities have been subject to "derogatory comments by politicians linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)" (Economic Times). The report recommends that the Indian government "publicly rebuke government officials and religious leaders that make derogatory statements about religious communities." U.S. President Barack Obama, during his visit to New Delhi earlier this year, said that "India will succeed so long as it is not splintered on religious lines."

Riaz Haq said...

Wall Street Journal Jan. 3, 2014 5:42 p.m. ET
SHAMLI, India—Khushi was less than 2 months old when, on a wet and cold day in early December, she died in a relief camp in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Farman Ali, 12, didn't survive a persistent fever. Nagma's life was shorter: 30 days.

The children died in unsanitary conditions after their families fled deadly Hindu-Muslim clashes in September. They are among at least 47 deaths in camps that sprung up after the violence.

Despite tragedies—and now the biting cold—hundreds of Muslim families are refusing to return home. The government says they should go back to their original villages where security has been beefed up; camp dwellers say they are too afraid.

In September's violence between Hindus and Muslims, the worst in a decade, people were shot and hacked to death, women were raped, and houses were looted and torched. Nearly 60 were killed and 50,000 families were displaced, spawning extensive relief camps, many of them aided by religious charity groups.

In Malakpura, the largest such camp, families live in Oxfam-donated tarpaulin tents that scarcely keep out the cold and rain. Temporary brick toilets are overflowing and unusable, so a majority instead resort to adjoining sugar-cane fields. Women wash dishes alongside pools of garbage-lined, stagnant water. Children and adults fight over logs of donated firewood.

In a cemetery abutting the camp, mounds of mud mark fresh graves. A majority of them are very small.

"She died in my arms," said Nagma's mother Afsaana, a Muslim woman who goes by one name and isn't sure how old she is. "We are surviving somehow, but how long could my little girl fight?"

"We are trying to treat all kinds of diseases," said Padam Singh, a government doctor, as he tended to a long line of camp residents. "But there's nothing we can do to save newborn babies in these conditions."

Officials say the inhabitants of the camps refuse to travel to government hospitals for treatment and to give birth. One senior official suggested the situation wasn't alarming as the infant-mortality rate wasn't higher here than in the district overall.

Large numbers of people who were directly affected by the riots or belonged to the worst-hit villages received money from the government to relocate. Many of them bought land to settle down in Muslim-dominated villages near the camp.

But thousands who aren't eligible for compensation remain, despite repeated government attempts —and deadlines—to close the camps. These include Muslims who weren't directly exposed to the violence but have grown fearful of their richer, more powerful Hindu neighbors. There are also a handful of poor laborer families who see this as an opportunity to get land or some cash.

Residents also expressed anger with Mr. Yadav's party, which counts Muslims among its core voters. They accuse police of being too slow to respond when the riots broke out and complain that Hindu perpetrators of crimes weren't being investigated.

On Tuesday, two police officers arrived at the Malakpura camp in an attempt to persuade one group to return home, promising them extra security and the prospect of a normal life. One man in the crowd, whose mother and relatives had returned, said he wouldn't go back for fear of creditors, an example of the situation's complexity and challenges. But a vast majority said they didn't want to live in constant fear in a place where they said they were too afraid to even pray freely.

"How can we go back there to die?" one man screamed from the crowd. "We will never go back, whether the government helps us or not."

Riaz Haq said...

#Beef eaters can go to #pakistan: #India Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi - The Economic Times

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has justified ban on cow slaughter and asked all those who want to eat beef to go to Pakistan.

"It is not about loss or profit... it is an issue of faith and belief. It is a sensitive issue for the Hindus," Naqvi said at "Manthan" conclave organised by TV channel Aaj Tak.Those who are dying without eating beef, can go to Pakistan or Arab countries or any other part of world where it is available," he said.

"Even Muslims are against it..." he contended. Naqvi was countered by AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi who asked whether the central government would impose blanket ban on beef across India, especially in states like Goa, Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala where a large number of people eat it.

On the issue of backwardness among Muslims, Naqvi said the Narendra Modi government was taking steps to eradicate poverty among the minorities.

Read more at:

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's "Secular" #India: No flat for Misbah Quadri in #Mumbai because she is #Muslim …
Growing up in Gujarat post-2002 riots exposed her to religious prejudice and forced ghettoisation. So when Misbah Quadri moved to Mumbai, she hoped the city, known for its cosmopolitan culture, would treat her better.

However, the 25-year-old communications professional is today knocking on the doors of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) after she was denied a flat in the city just because she is a Muslim. After a hard search, Ms. Quadri found a tidy 3-BHK apartment at Sanghvi Heights in Wadala. Her new flatmates — two working women, in their early twenties and Hindu — found her on Facebook.

However, a day before Ms. Quadri was to shift, the apartment’s broker warned that the housing society did not accept Muslim tenants. Even if something worked out, the broker told her, she would have to sign a “no-objection certificate” declaring that if she faced any harassment from her neighbours because of her religion, the builder, the owner and the broker “would not be legally responsible.” She was also asked to submit her resume. Though she disagreed with the terms, she moved in because the notice period at her previous flat expired and her flatmates supported her and she hoped for a compromise later.

But within a week, the agent contacted her again. “He threatened to call the cops and throw me out of the flat. It got very ugly.” When she approached the representative of the builder, she was told that it was “a policy” of the company not to have Muslim tenants. She was then served an ultimatum to vacate the house. Ultimately, she was forced to leave the flat. Incidentally, the other women had to pay a price for sheltering a Muslim; they have vacated the house unwillingly.

Riaz Haq said...

Total Fertility rate (TFR) of #Hindus in #Pakistan is 3.2, the same as TFR of #Muslims in #India, according to Pew.

It is common enough knowledge that Islam is growing massively in India. Sure, the alarmist concerns about Muslims overtaking Hindus are overblown, but the religion is still expanding significantly in India – as evidence by the Pew Research Centre's conclusion that by 2050, India will have the largest Muslim population of any country in the world. Beyond India too, Islam's ranks are swelling. But what that same report also shows is that Hinduism happens to be the fastest growing religion for a very motley set of countries.

Reddit user KaliKwad took the data from the Pew Research Centre's The Future of World Religions report, and turned it into a map of the world's fastest-growing religions.

Relative numbers

The map is based on relative, not absolute, numbers, so the religion picked is the one that will have the biggest jump in its share of each country's population. As an example, Islam happens to be the fastest growing religion in India, but its relative share of the total population is only going from 14.4% to 18.4% by 2050, not even coming close to challenging Hinduism's hold on the nation.

With that caveat aside, here is the map for Asia.

As is evident, Islam is growing fast everywhere. The report in fact predicts that, by 2050, Muslims will surpass Hindus as the largest religious group in the India-Pacific region from having just 24.3% share of the population up to nearly 30% mid-way through the century.

But Hinduism is also growing in unusual places. Again, remember, its relative growth outside India is tiny in absolute numbers – but that still means there are some countries that will have double the number of Hindus by 2050 than they did in 2010. In Saudi Arabia, Hindus currently make up about 1.1% of the population, a number that is expected to go up to 1.6% by 2050, largely on the back of migration. The report suggests nearly 1 million Hindus are expected to move to a different region over the next four decades.

The growth in Pakistan, however, is a slightly different matter and, ironically, is the result of a metric that often turns into an allegation in India: the fertility rate of Hindus. While the fertility rate of all religions globally is about 2.5 children per woman, and just 2.1 in the Asia-Pacific region, the Hindu fertility rate in Pakistan is 3.2, which happens to be the exact same as the Muslim fertility rate in India.

The third country in Asia where Hinduism is growing is Thailand, where it is slated to go up from 0.1% of the Thai population to 0.2% by 2050.

Europe happens to be even more interesting, for Hindus.

The four countries that turn up here are Ireland, Belgium, Italy and Greece, all places where Hindus are expected to grow primarily because of migration and the resulting fertility rate. This becomes even more significant because of Europe's population will actually be contracting by about 6% over the next 40 years, making the Hindu growth of 93% seem much larger even if the absolute numbers end up being still very small.

Buddhism, another religion that originates in India, is also growing tremendously quickly in parts of Europe, taking the top spot in Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Austria.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC on India's disappearing Parsis:

The Parsis of India are a unique community, but their numbers are declining fast. In an effort to change this, the government is spending $1.5m to encourage them to have more children.
Persis Aspi Kamakhan still cannot believe her luck. She clucks and coos at her baby daughter, Hufriya, as she tries to dress her in a new red outfit.
"She's very mischievous," Kamakhan says proudly. "That thing that I wanted for 11 years of my marriage - finally I got this baby. It's like we were given our very own Kohinoor diamond."
Kamakhan and her husband had spent all their savings on unsuccessful IVF treatment, and had given up hope of having a child. Then she heard about Jiyo Parsi - a government-funded scheme set up to encourage Parsi couples to have bigger families.
Kamakhan got in touch with a gynaecologist associated with the scheme who promised to find out what the problem was and solve it.
"Persis had dealt with a lot of disappointments," says Dr Anita Pandole, recalling their first meeting. "Of course, we counselled her there was no guarantee she would get pregnant. But when she did her first cycle with us, she conceived. First time, first shot."


It's estimated that there are 60,000 Parsis in India - half as many as there were in the 1940s. For every Parsi born, four die. The decline in numbers is blamed on late marriage, no marriage, or mixed marriage with non-Parsis.
So why is the Indian government committing resources to bolstering the Parsi headcount, when the country is struggling to control the size of its population?
"I want them to survive," says the Minister of Minority Affairs, Najma Heptulla. "The Parsis have contributed greatly to India as far as education and industrialisation are concerned. There are many famous names like [industrialists] Tata and Godrej, and they have been distinguished lawyers and politicians too."
Most of India's Parsis live in Mumbai - a city whose statues and buildings pay homage to a glorious past when Parsis were a dominant force as traders and shipbuilders, administrators and wealthy philanthropists.
Some time after the beginning of the 8th Century, a group of Zoroastrians fled religious persecution in Iran, and arrived on India's west coast. They settled in Gujarat - the word Parsi means Persian.
In the 17th Century, they began to migrate to Mumbai, where they built their fire temples, and formed alliances with the British.
The Parsi community is more Westernised than many in India, which is partly why it has shrunk in size. They sometimes delay marriage while they save or wait for a property. And couples began family planning decades ago to ensure they could pay for a good education for their children - which for them is as important for girls as it is for boys. Parsi women are high achievers at work, which often makes them reluctant to marry and start a family at an early age. And being single is socially acceptable - 30% of Parsis never marry.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's #India sees steep year-on-year rise in anti#Muslim communal violence for 1st 5 months of 2015 via @TIMEWorld

The increase is blamed on the failure of state governments in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra and West Bengal to keep a check on sectarian tensions

Incidents of communal violence in India rose by nearly a quarter in the first five months of this year compared to the same period in 2014, the Economic Times reports.

The newspaper, citing data from India’s Home Ministry, also reported a rise in deaths from communal violence, which rose from 26 between January and May 2014 to 43 over the same period this year.

Outbreaks of communal violence, meanwhile, rose from 232 during the first five months of 2014, when a Congress Party–led coalition government was in power in New Delhi, to 287 over the same period this year. The Congress Party–led administration was displaced in last year’s national elections in May by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party led by the country’s current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Overall, 2014 saw a decline in communal violence, with the number of incidents dropping to 644 from 823 the previous year. The number of related deaths also fell, declining to 95 in 2014 from 133 in 2013.

The Economic Times said officials at India’s Home Ministry blamed the recent rise in communal violence to the failure of state governments in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra and West Bengal to keep a check on sectarian tension.

Speaking about the country’s minorities and religious diversity earlier this year, Prime Minister Modi told TIME that “so far as the government is concerned, there is only one holy book, which is the constitution of India.”

“The unity and the integrity of the country are the topmost priorities,” he said in May. “All religions and all communities have the same rights, and it is my responsibility to ensure their complete and total protection. My government will not tolerate or accept any discrimination based on caste, creed and religion.”

Riaz Haq said...

Op Ed by Uday Mahurkar:

It is said that to label a patriot as non-patriot is one of the greatest sins. Against the backdrop of this adage there is the curious case of Abul Kalam Azad, India’s first education minister and a nationalist Muslim credited with steering the boat of the Congress and, by that virtue, of India during the most difficult phase of the Pakistan movement from 1939 to 1945 under the shadow of World War II. There is a significant section of responsible Indians who believe that Azad and his ideological friends belonging to the Wahabi stream - the Deobandi Muslim leaders of that period - opposed Partition because they felt territorial nationalism had no place in Islam since the faith stood for converting the entire world and that the division of India would divide Muslim strength and awaken Hindus from a deep slumber under Muslim rule to the dangers of Pan-Islamism.

One of those who thought so was late retired bureaucrat, and a witness to the Partition, Yuvraj Krishen. His landmark book Understanding Partition is a good read on the actions and objectives of the Muslim League on one hand and, on the other, the Deobandis with their favourite Azad - who were in the Congress. Writing a guest column on the Partition for India Today in 2007, Krishen wrote:

"There is ample evidence now to prove that nationalist Muslims like Abul Kalam Azad and the then Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president Ahmad Hussain Madani opposed Pakistan only because they felt that Partition would affect Muslim domination in the sub-continent and Muslims would heavily lose. Plus they tried to extract a heavy price from the Congress for their patriotism in the name of minority protection. Congress leaders have tried to hide the fact that as Congress president in 1945, Azad even went to the extent of agreeing to a proposal of rotating Indian headship. It meant India would have a Hindu and then a Muslim head of State and army chief by turns. So, eventually Gandhi and Nehru made Congress a hostage to ‘Hindu-Muslim unity at any cost’ which Jinnah skillfully exploited and got more concessions from the Congress to establish parity in numbers between Hindu and Muslim representation."

But a better way to look at Azad is from the eyes of secular and lslamic scholars/leaders of Pakistan. Amongst them the leaders of the Wahabi stream in Pakistan, generally opposed to Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s modernist approach, see Azad with respect while the Jinnah admirers see him as the representative of an unbending, orthodox and even retrograde brand of Islam and question Gandhiji for taking the support of retrograde Islamic forces. This can be gleaned from the writings and speeches of Wahabi stream leaders like late Tanzeem-e-Islami's (an Islamic socio-political body in Pakistan) Ameer Israr Ahmed and Jamat-e-Ulema-e-Islam president and Deobandi leader Fazlur Rehman and pro-Jinnah, liberal scholars like Ayesha Jalal - who teaches history in United States. Among other such supporters include Hamza Alavi, the eminent late Pakistani social scientist, Naeem Ahmad, an expert on the Pakistan movement and Sharif-Al-Mujahid, a well known Pakistani academic and freedom movement scholar.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing that most Indians post anti Muslim and anti Islam comments, but you visit any gulf country and you will find Indian's cleaning toilets. What does that say about Indians? They make their living by cleaning Muslim sh*t. So if Muslims are bad Indians are ....?

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian #Muslims fear rising tide of #Hindu nationalism in #Modi's #India. #BJP #VHP At an event in New Delhi last year, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said the Hindu scripture Bhagwad Gita must be declared a “national scripture.” Another BJP politician, Manohar Lal Khattar, the chief minister of the northern Haryana state said Bhagwad Gita is considered more important than India’s secular Constitution.... The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (or the World Hindu Council, which is associated Modi’s party) launched a program called “Gharwapsi” (or Homecoming) to urge India’s Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism, which they said was the religion of their ancestors. The controversial debate began in December 2014 when more than 50 impoverished Muslim families in a slum in the northern city of Agra attended a simple ceremony at which they were asked by a Hindu priest to chant and throw offerings into the holy fire in front of some Hindu idols.... Last month, India hanged Yakub Memon, a Muslim accountant convicted of helping plan bombings in 1993 in Mumbai that killed 257 people. Many critics, including the Muslim lawmaker Asaduddin Owaisi, opposed the execution saying that there were other non-Muslim convicts waiting in the death row that were given clemency. More than 15,000 Muslims joined Memon’s funeral procession in Mumbai....Members of the World Hindu Council launched a campaign last year urging Hindu families to be on guard against what they called “love jihad” – romantic relationships between young Hindus and Muslims. They accused Muslim men of coercing Hindu women into love in order to convert them to Islam.....The BJP government in the western state of Maharashtra banned the sale of beef because the cow is worshipped as a holy animal by many Hindus. Muslims dominate the meat industry in many parts of the country. “This is a political decision,” said Mohammed Aqil Qureshi, president of the Buffalo Traders Welfare Association in New Delhi. “They want to gratify the Hindus and harass the Muslims.” There have been calls for a national beef ban as well.

Riaz Haq said...

Try renting an apartment using a #Muslim name (In #India ), Shashi Tharoor to Anupam Kher. #Modi #BJP #Islamophobia …

Indian Congress leader Shashi Tharoor while defending his Twitter argument with veteran actor Anupam Kher, said if the actor is scared to openly call himself Hindu in India, he should try renting an apartment with a Muslim name.

During an interview Kher confessed that he fears “saying I’m a Hindu”. “In this country, I’m scared to say that if I wear a tilak (mark worn by a Hindu on the forehead to indicate caste, sect) and a gerua (saffron colored clothes), then I will be branded as an RSS (right-wing party) guy or a BJP fanatic,” said Kher.

Today, I’m scared to say I’m Hindu: Anupam Kher

A spat broke out as Tharoor tweeted against Kher’s comment, stating that though India has people from various religions, the country is recognised by Hindus at large. Kher in reply to the comment called Tharoor a ‘Congi Chamcha’.

Stating that minorities in India are the ones who have to struggle much harder than Hindus to be accepted by society, Tharoor in a column on NDTV said, “Try renting an apartment, for instance, while using a Muslim name: there are many parts of many towns where you will be turned away with one specious excuse or another. And yet Muslims are expected to grin and bear it, and move on. ”

Blind Muslim teacher barred from renting flat in India

“So when I said, truthfully, that I openly, and without self-consciousness, say I am Hindu, I am acknowledging that it’s far easier for me to do so than it is for an Indian Muslim or Christian to wear his faith on his sleeve without being typecast for doing so. And when I added that I am not the Sangh’s kind of Hindu, I meant that I am not belligerent about my Hinduism,” he wrote.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian #Muslims in West Bengal poorer, less literate and less healthy than #Hindus …

Muslims, who form 27.01 per cent of West Bengal’s population, “constitute a very large proportion of the poor” in the State, Professor Amartya Sen said.

He was releasing a voluminous report on the condition of Muslims in West Bengal titled ‘Living Reality of Muslims in West Bengal.’

“The fact that Muslims in West Bengal are disproportionately poorer and more deprived in terms of living conditions is an empirical recognition that gives this report an inescapable immediacy and practical urgency,” Prof. Sen said, releasing the report with long chapters dedicated to education, health, economic conditions and gender of Muslims of Bengal who constitute a majority in 65 of 341 blocks in the State.

The survey — the most extensive one on Bengal’s Muslims — was carried out in 325 villages and 75 urban wards from a sample of 81 community development blocks and 30 municipal bodies. The 368-page report was produced by two Kolkata-based research organisations, Association SNAP and Guidance Guild, in association with Prof. Sen’s trust, Pratichi India.

Low literacy rate
Though the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has claimed to have played a significant role in the uplift of Muslims in Bengal since 2011, the report points to little improvement in areas such as literacy, health or participation in work. For example, Muslims have a literacy rate seven per cent lower than the State’s average.

“Around five per cent of those who discontinued education admitted lack of motivation as the factor behind dropping out of school as they did not see any future benefits from education,” the synopsis said. However, the report has not named any political party or held any government institution responsible.

In the health sector, the condition of, Muslims is no better and the report observes on the basis of State government data and field-level survey that “when Muslim population percentage increases in the blocks, the hospital facilities dwindle down.”

As a result “almost double the number of hospital beds is available in blocks with less than 15 per cent population share of Muslims in comparison with blocks having 50 per cent or above of (Muslim population).” Such discrimination is underscored in nearly every page of the report.

While in the entire report it was never said the ruling party in the State is responsible for the discrimination against the main minority of Bengal, it is expected to take political colour as it has been released only months before the Assembly elections.

Muslim bodies differ
One of the most well-spread cadre-based Islamic political organisation, Jama’at e Islami-Hind (JIH), West Bengal, which does not contest elections or is affiliated to any political party, believe that Muslims of Bengal have “moderately benefited” during the TMC rule. The media and public relations chief of JIH, Masihur Rahman, underscored how the minorities have benefited during TMC’s rule, without referring to the report.

“Firstly, the number of Muslim students clearing West Bengal Civil Services is much higher than in earlier years. It is 24 this year. Secondly, Aliah University, started during the Left’s time, was given a grant of Rs. 300 crore and many hostels for Muslim girls were built in the districts,” said Mr. Rahman.

Riaz Haq said...

In #India One Case Of Anti #Christian #Violence Every Day | Pray | Open Doors USA. #Modi #BJP #Hindu #Bigotry …

Attacks on Christians in India were reported on an almost daily basis in 2015, according to a Christian advocacy group.

“The country saw 355 incidents of violence, including 200 major incidents, during the last year,” Joseph Dias, convener of Mumbai-based Catholic Secular Forum, told World Watch Monitor. The forum’s report, released on Jan. 18, concluded that it is “not safe” to be a Christian in India.

The group reports that seven pastors were killed, several nuns were raped and hundreds of Christians were arrested under India’s anti-conversions laws. The report was released as 12 people, including a blind couple and their three-year-old son, were arrested in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, under the state’s anti-conversion law, which forbids conversions through “allurement” or “force.” Seven of those arrested, including the blind couple, were released from custody on January 17, according to local pastor Suresh Mandlo.

Dias blamed the increase in incidents against Christians on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP.

“The rise of the BJP has emboldened the [Hindu nationalist] fringe groups,” he said. “They feel that they can treat the Christians as soft targets under BJP's patronage and protection.”

“Even the government is acting in a partisan manner,” added Dias, relating two recent high-profile cases involving foreign clerics.

In the first case, Sister Bertilla Capra, an Italian Catholic nun who had been working with leprosy victims for four decades, was denied the renewal of her visa. Then, authorities at the Chennai International Airport detained and subsequently deported Hegumen Seraphim, a Russian Orthodox priest.

The Russian embassy said the treatment of the priest, who was detained at the airport for seven hours and denied food, was “unacceptable.” The embassy’s statement added that, “Such disrespect, shown to a priest from a friendly country, goes against the spirit of mutual affinity and cooperation characteristic of Russian-Indian relationships.”

According to Dias, “all these incidents point to an organized targeting of Christians at different levels.” He added that “The hate speech is turning worse and the conversion rhetoric of the saffron family [Hindu fundamentalists] is vitiating the atmosphere and paving the way for atrocities,” he added.

Just days before the Catholic Secular Forum issued its report, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or World Hindu Council, claimed it had recently undertaken mass re-conversions of Christians and Muslims to Hinduism. Praveen Togadia, the VHP’s international working president, reported on Jan. 8 that the VHP had reconverted more than 500,000 Christians and 250,000 Muslims in the last decade with its Ghar Wapsi, or homecoming, initiative. Two days later, VHP national general secretary Y. Raghavulu claimed that 800,000 Hindus were being converted to other faiths every year in India.

“The [VHP] claim to have converted Christians and Muslims to Hinduism is just to enthuse their cadres. Both [statements] are blatantly aggressive instances of hate to provoke violence,” Christian activist John Dayal told World Watch Monitor. “The statistics are products of feverish minds and a bankrupt ideology. Their real purpose is political—to arouse passions, sharpen polarization and target religious minorities, and especially the Christian community.”

Hindu fundamentalists, Dayal added, “want to criminalize Christian presence and social work as a conversion conspiracy by Western powers.”

Riaz Haq said...

Anti-Muslim housing discrimination Apartment Rental Ad in #Mumbai, #India: "All communities allowed EXCEPT #Muslims"

Such intolerance exists at all price points. In a TV interview, Shabana Azmi, one of India’s most celebrated actresses and a former member of Parliament, described how she and her equally famous screenwriter husband couldn’t buy the flat they wanted because they were Muslim.

More alarming to me, though, is how the inter-communal mix of my formative years has been lost. As the writer Naresh Fernandes describes in his book, “City Adrift: A Short Biography of Bombay,” some suburban areas are acquiring the feel of religious ghettos. Mumbra, one of the largest, is over 90 percent Muslim. It suffers daily power failures much worse than those in neighboring Hindu localities. To the west, the clearly demarcated Muslim parts of Jogeshwari are snidely called “mini Pakistan” by Hindus across the “border.”

It is not difficult to find Internet listings specifying whether a property lies in the Hindu or Muslim area of an outer suburb, or even, in the case of a half-million dollar flat in the closer-in suburb Andheri, saying explicitly, “All communities allowed EXCEPT Muslims.”

Riaz Haq said...

Hindu Nationalist explanations of India Muslims' deep deprivation remind me of Swedish sociologist Gunnar Myrdal's study of "implicit bias" in America.

He found that White America oppresses Black Americans and keeps them poor, unemployed. ill-educated and backward. Then it points to their lack of education and backwardness as proof of their inferiority.

Riaz Haq said...

#Muslims in #India at bottom of higher education ladder, alongside backward tribes. #Modi #BJP

New Delhi, July 22: Despite almost trebling in the decade ending 2010 — from 5.2 per cent to 13.8 percent — the rate of Muslim enrolment in higher education trailed the national figure of 23.6 per cent, other backward classes (22.1 per cent) and scheduled castes (18.5 per cent). Scheduled tribes lagged Muslims by 0.5 per cent.
In proportion to their population, Muslims were worse-off than scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs). Muslims comprise 14 per cent of India’s population but account for 4.4 per cent of students enrolled in higher education, according to the 2014-15 All India Survey on Higher Education.
The situation has worsened over the last half century, according to the 2006 Sachar Committee, appointed to examine the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community.
In the decade since then, the gross enrolment rate of Muslims doubled from 6.84 per cent to 13.8 per cent. Despite this, they trail the national average.
The 147 per cent increase in SCs and 96 percenet increase in STs in higher education enrolments — which still lags their proportion in the general population — since 2001 is the outcome of affirmative action, as we explained in part one of this series. The second part described how the proportion of other backward classes (OBCs) in higher education is now almost the same as their corresponding share of the general population.
So, should reservation be extended to Muslims?
That is not an easy question to answer. In a nation declared secular by its constitution, educational institutions are disallowed from discriminating between students on religious grounds. However, states can tweak constitutionally-mandated reservation provisions to provide “for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes”.
Where such reservations have been made for Muslims over and above the few Muslim castes included in the OBC list, such as in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, their representation in higher education is three times the rate in non-minority institutions up North, according to Indian Muslims and Higher Education: A Study of Select Universities in North and South India, a 2013 comparative analysis.
Affirmative action has allowed many families to see their first-generation of graduates, post-graduates and doctorates. It has spurred progressive families to widen their horizons.
Poverty holds back Muslims from higher education — but not in south India
There is little doubt that Muslims are among India’s most economically disadvantaged communities. Hindus who are not classified backward and other minorities spent 60 per cent more than Muslims, according to the Sachar Committee.
No more than 81 per cent of urban male Muslims are literate, the lowest literacy rate among urban males from Indian religious groups — Hindus (91 per cent), Christians (94 per cent), Sikhs (86 per cent) and Others (95 per cent) — according to Employment and Unemployment Situation among Major Religious Groups in India, a 2010 National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report.
In higher education, Muslims (13.8 per cent) trailed all the major religions in gross enrolment rate in 2010 — Hindus (24.2 per cent), Christians (36.9 per cent) and others (Jains, Sikhs et al) (28 per cent).
Among Muslims, the work participation rate, another key determinant of socio-economic well-being, representing the workforce per 1000 population, was the lowest of all the major religions-536, below Sikhs (568), Christians (540), Hindus (563) and Others (573), also according to NSSO 2010.

Riaz Haq said...

One In Every Four 'Beggars' In #India Is #Muslim: Report …

Nearly 25 percent of the 3.7 lakh Indians categorised as "beggars" in the 2011 Census are Muslim, according to data released last month, reported The Indian Express. That's a total of 92,760 Muslim beggars in India.

While most of beggars in India are Hindus—about 72.2 percent—Hindus are also the majority religious group in India, accounting for almost four-fifths of the country's population. The number of Muslim beggars is significant as compared to their overall population in India, which stands at 17.22 crore as per the last Census.

A majority of the Muslim beggars are women, which is contrary to the national trend, where there are fewer women beggars compared to men.

Earlier, reports have indicated that Muslims have the lowest living standard in India, and spend less than ₹33 every day. The steadily increasing Muslim population in India is neglected, reported The Economist.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex #Indian Police Service officer recounts Hashimpura massacre of 42 #Muslims by #UP cops. #India

Nearly 30 years since the Hashimpura massacre, the then superintendent of police of Ghaziabad district has come out with a book giving his version of the gory incident in which 42 Muslims were gunned by jawans of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC).

“Still weighing heavy on my conscience is that horrifying night of May 22 in the humid summer of 1987. And the subsequent days, similarly, are etched in my memory like as if on stone – it was something that overpowered the cop in me. The Hashimpura experience continues to torment me,” says Vibhuti Narain Rai.

Riaz Haq said...

75% of #India's #Muslims live below the poverty line. #Modi #BJP via @CatchNews

In another effort to counter the anti-minority image of the Modi government, Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi visited Muslim-dominated Mewat in Haryana last week for a "progress panchayat". Recently, Mewat had witnessed a communal flare up.

Naqvi said that minority empowerment is 'Raj Dharma' of his government while he inaugurated a 100-bed girls hostel and laid the foundation stone of a higher secondary school.

Poverty is the biggest challenge for the minorities as 75% of Muslims live below the poverty line and discrimination based on caste, religion and region still exist in India, admitted Naqvi.

When a minister admits to a problem, it is time for some introspection. So here is a reality check:


- Number of Muslim students who appeared for the bi-annual basic literacy assessment test in August 2015.

- Of this, only 36,84,253, or 69% successfully passed the test.

- In Punjab, which is soon going to elections, only 49% could pass the test.

- The literacy rate of Muslims in India.

- The national average is 64.8%.

- Additionally, 1 in 4 Muslim students in the age group 6-14 years either never attended school or dropped out.

- "Muslim parents are not averse to modern or mainstream education and to sending their children to affordable Government schools. They do not necessarily prefer to send children to Madarsas. However, the access to Government schools for Muslim children is limited. Schools beyond primary level are few in Muslim localities. Girl schools are fewer," said the government in Lok Sabha in May 2016.

- Or more, is the share of Muslim male workers who are engaged as street vendors to earn their livelihood.

- The national average is less than 8%.

- "Self-employment (which falls under the unorganised sector of the economy) is the main source of income for the Muslim community," says the government.

- Out of all socio-religious categories, Muslims participate more in production (especially textile, tobacco), sales related activities as against professional, clerical, managerial and technical jobs. This leads to vulnerable job conditions for the community.

Rs 1,000
- The amount of money the union government spent in modernising madrasas in the past seven years, according to data-journalism website IndiaSpend.

- There are also nearly 24 schemes/initiatives for educational empowerment of Muslims run by the ministry of Minority Affairs.

- However, unspent funds, sometimes due to refusal to take part in initiatives or lack of project proposals, is a major problem in the path of the minority, caste and tribal development.

- For instance, according to Right to Information filed by IndiaSpend, about Rs 2.8 lakh crore of Dalit/tribal development fund remained unspent for the past 35 years.

Clearly, Naqvi has a lot of work to do ahead to change the situation.

Riaz Haq said...

Karan Thapar interview with Saeed Naqvi, author of "Being the Other: Muslim in India".

Here is the nub of that narrative: pre-Partition north India with its 'composite culture' was a golden time. Naqvi grew up in a rich family but one having to face up to downward mobility. The Naqvis had known the Nehrus and were with the Congress. They considered Nehru a messiah. Independence arrived. For the Naqvis, though, there was "no celebration" for with Independence came Partition and loss. However, for "'Mishraji' or 'Guptaji'", Naqvi writes, Partition was "a happy outcome". Yet, the doxa, the received opinion, continues to propagate that Jinnah and the Muslims partitioned India. Chapter 3 confronts that doxa to argue how the Congress stalwarts favoured, even desired, Partition. Under scrutiny is not only Sardar Patel but also Nehru and Gandhi. Partition was "the gift the Congress gave to the Hindu Right, which?is today's Hindutva". Later, we hear Atal Bihari Vajpayee say: "Partition was good for Hindus because we now have fewer Muslims to manage."


Returning to Naqvi's point about returning to our founding fathers, it is a paradox compounded. Naqvi himself details how Nehru let Muslims down over the acceptance of Partition, and over the anti-Muslim pogroms in Hyderabad and Jammu. The genesis of the Babri Masjid controversy was in Nehru's time. Naqvi is also aghast at Gandhi's acceptance of Partition. He quotes Gandhi's letter urging the exclusion of Abul Kalam Azad from the cabinet and putting another Muslim in his place. Naqvi names it as "secular pretence". Which founding father, then, to return to?